One of India's brightest medal prospect at the Olympics -- star weightlifter Mirabai Chanu -- is set to train in the USA until the Tokyo Games.
The Sports Authority of India Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) has sanctioned around Rs 70.8 lakhs for Chanu's one-and-a-half-month long overseas training, a SAI source told PTI.
The 26-year-old, who is a part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), is scheduled to leave the country on Saturday along with two others, including head coach Vijay Sharma.
"The Indian Weightlifting Federation presented a proposal which was approved today evening. In light of the increasing travel restrictions due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, SAI felt it is better if Chanu leaves at the earliest," the source added.
Chanu, who bagged the bronze medal in the recently-concluded Asian Championship by lifting 86kg in snatch and a world record of 119kg in clean and jerk for a total of 205kg, will directly depart for Tokyo from the USA.
"Yes, we are leaving for USA tomorrow. We had informed SAI and TOPS about our inclination to train there earlier but yesterday after the media interaction with Mirabai they asked us to give a proposal and then approved it," Sharma said.
Sharma added that the other lifters in the national camp do not have the US visa and thus will have to wait for the documents.
"We are leaving with Mirabai tomorrow while the other lifters like Jeremy Lalrinnunga, Sneha Soren and Jhili Dalabehera don't have the Visa so they will wait for it. Hopefully, they will be able to come as well."
Chanu in a media interaction on Thursday had expressed her desire to train in the US to work on a shoulder issue which has been hampering her snatch.
"My plan is to go to the US because my shoulder feels uncomfortable at times," Chanu had said. This will be Chanu's second stint in the United States.
The former world champion had spent two months working with former weightlifter-turned-physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach Dr Aaron Horschig last year as well, a stint which Chanu says was extremely beneficial to her.
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